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The Age of Bronze, 1823 (Excerpts)

lord-byron-by-hans-fromml-546x7001,241 words

XIV.

Alas, the country! How shall tongue or pen
Bewail her now uncountry gentlemen?
The last to bid the cry of warfare cease,
The first to make a malady of peace.
For what were all these country patriots born?
To hunt, and vote, and raise the price of corn?
But corn, like every mortal thing, must fall,
Kings, conquerors, and markets most of all.
And must ye fall with every ear of grain?
Why would you trouble Buonaparte’s reign?
He was your great Triptolemus; his vices
Destroy’d but realms, and still maintain’d your prices;
He amplified to every lord’s content
The grand agrarian alchymy, high rent.
Why did they tyrant stumble on the Tartars,
And lower wheat to such desponding quarters?
Why did you chain him on yon isle so lone?
The man was worth much more upon this throne.
True, blood and treasure boundlessly were spilt,
But what of that? the Gaul may bear the guilt;
But bread was high, the farmer paid his way,
And acres told upon the appointed day.
But where is now the goodly audit ale?
The purse-proud tenant, never known to fail?
The farm which never yet was left on hand?
The marsh reclaim’d to must improving land?
The impatient hope of the expiring lease?
The doubling rental? What an evil’s peace!
In vain the prize excites the ploughman’s skill,
In vain the Commons pass their patriot bill;
The landed interest — (you may understand
The phrase much better leaving out the land) —
The land self-interest groans from shore to shore,
For fear that plenty should attain the poor.
Up, up again, ye rents! exalt your notes,
Or else the ministry will lose their votes,
And patriotism, so delicately nice,
Her loaves will lower to the market price;
For ah! “the loaves and fishes,” once so high,
Are gone — their oven closed, their ocean dry,
And nought remains of all the millions spent,
Excepting to grow moderate and content.
They who are not so, had their turn — and turn
About still flows from Fortune’s equal urn;
Now let their virtue be its own reward,
And share the blessings which themselves prepared.
See these inglorious Cincinnati swarm,
Farmers of war, dictators of the farm;
Their ploughshare was the sword in hireling hands,
Their fields manured by gore of other lands;
Safe in their barns, these Sabine tillers sent
Their brethen out to battle — why? for rent!
Year after year they voted cent. per cent.,
Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions — why? for rent!
They roar’d, they dined, they drank, they swore they meant
To die for England — why then live? — for rent!
The peace has made one general malcontent
Of these high-market patriots; war was rent!
Their love of country, millions all misspent,
How reconcile? by reconciling rent!
And will they not repay the treasures lent?
No: down with everything, and up with rent!
Their good, ill, health, wealth, joy, or discontent,
Being, end, aim, religion — rent, rent, rent!
Thou sold’st thy birthright, Esau! for a mess;
Thou shouldst have gotten more, or eaten less;
Now thou hast swill’d thy pottage, thy demands
Are idle; Israel says the bargain stands.
Such, landlords! was your appetite for war,
And gorged with blood, you grumble at a scar!
What! would they spread their earthquake even o’er cash?
And when land crumbles, bid firm paper crash?
So rent may rise, bid bank and nation fall,
And found on ‘Change a Fundling Hospital?
Lo, Mother Church, while all religion writhes,
Like Niobe, weeps o’er her offspring, Tithes;
The prelates go to — where the saints have gone,
And proud pluralities subside to one;
Church, state, and faction wrestle in the dark,
Toss’d by the deluge in their common ark.
Shorn of her bishops, banks, and dividends,
Another Babel soars — but Britain ends.
And why? to pamper the self-seeking wants,
And prop the hill of these agrarian ants.
“Go to these ants, thou sluggard, and be wise;”
Admire their patience through each sacrifice,
Till taught to feel the lesson of their pride,
The price of taxes and of homicide;
Admire their justice, which would fain deny
The debt of nations: — pray, who made it high?

XV.

Or turn to sail between those shifting rocks,
The new Symplegades — the crushing Stocks,
Where Midas might again his wish behold
In real paper or imagined gold.
That magic palace of Alcina shows
More wealth than Britain ever had to lose,
Were all her atoms of unleaven’d ore,
And all her pebbles from Pactolus’ shore.
There Fortune plays, while Rumour holds the stake,
And the world trembles to bid brokers break.
How rich is Britain! not indeed in mines,
Or peace or plenty, corn or oil or wines;
No land of Canan, full of milk and honey,
Nor (save in paper shekels) ready money:
But let us not to own the truth refuse,
Was ever Christian land so rich in Jews?
Those parted with their teeth to good King John,
And now, ye kings! they kindly draw your own;
All states, all things, all sovereigns they control,’
And waft a loan “from Indus to the pole.”
The banker, broker, baron, brethen, speed
To aid these bankrupt tyrants in their need.
Nor these alone; Columbian feels no less
Fresh speculations follow each success;
And philanthropic Israel deigns to drain
Her mild per-centage from exhausted Spain.
Not without Abraham’s seed can Russia march;
‘Tis gold, not steel, that rears the conqueror’s arch.
Two Jews, a chosen people, can command
In every realm their scripture-promised land: —
Two Jews, keep down the Romans, and uphold
The accursed Hun, more brutal than of old:
Two Jews — but not Samaritans — direct
The world, with all the spirit of their sect.
What is the happiness of earth to them?
A congress forms their “New Jerusalem,”
Where baronies and orders both invite —
Oh, holy Abraham! dost thou see the sight?
Thy followers mingling with these royal swine,
Who spit not “on their Jewish gaberdine,”
But honour them as portion of the show —
(Where now, oh Pope! is thy forsaken toe?
Could it not favor Judah with some kicks?
Or has it ceased to “kick against the pricks?”)
Oh Shylock’s shore behold them stand afresh,
To cut from nations’ hearts their “pound of flesh.”

Byron’s poem is referred to in the wartime broadcast made by Ezra Pound on March 15, 1942:

Is there a RACE left in England? Has it ANY will left to survive? You can carry slaughter to Ireland. Will that save you? I doubt it. Nothing can save you, save a purge. Nothing can save you, save an affirmation that you are English.

Whore Belisha is NOT. Isaccs is not. No Sassoon is an Englishman, racially. No Rothschild is English, no Strakosch is English, no Roosevelt is English, no Baruch, Morgenthau, Cohen, Lehman, Warburg, Kuhn, Khan, Baruch, Schiff, Sieff, or Solomon was ever yet bom Anglo-Saxon.

And it is for this filth that you fight. It is for this filth that you have murdered your empire, and it is this filth that elects your politicians.

You have lost your tradition. You have not even learned what Lord Byron told you. You are, as even that foul rag the Times tells you, a little late in making a start.

In the year 1942 Anno Domini, there is only one start you can make. And that is a start toward being England. A refusal to be a province of Israel, or an outpost of Yankee-Judaea.

 

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